Ersson bolsters case, Flyers see some good things in preseason-ending OT loss


The Flyers wrapped up their first preseason under John Tortorella with a 4-3 overtime loss Tuesday night to the Islanders at the Wells Fargo Center.

Noah Dobson won it for New York on a power play goal with 7.3 seconds remaining in the bonus session.

Scott Laughton, Owen Tippett and Tanner Laczynski scored the Flyers' goals.

Tippett, playing his fifth exhibition game and due for a marker, buried a nice pass from Kevin Hayes to tie the game in the third period.

Laughton scored at shorthanded. He went to his go-to breakaway move to snap a scoreless tie in the second period.

Samuel Ersson strengthened his case to be the Flyers' backup goalie with 15 saves on 15 shots.

The Flyers went 1-4-1 in the preseason and were outscored 16-8.

"I don't want us to overthink the record of our preseason, the lack of goal scoring. You guys will remind us of that," Tortorella said postgame. "I just want us to be prepared to play the way I think we should play, the way we think we should play. We've talked about that.

"Now you get to a small number, it's not camp mentality where you're mixing and matching people. It's finding combinations and instilling a concept for us to play as a team."

• Laczynski played his best and most noticeable game of the preseason. He was active and flashed offensively. He punctuated his fifth exhibition game with a go-ahead breakaway goal in the third period.

The 25-year-old is aiming to win the club's fourth-line center job.

"I think Tanner's given us some good minutes, I think there's a little bit of a learning curve that he has to go through," Tortorella said. "I like his body, he's long, I think he's willing. We're going to meet tomorrow as a management staff and a coaching staff and talk about all this. We'll see where it goes."

• A good chunk of the Flyers' regulars saw little to no preseason action. The Flyers are being highly precautious with injuries.

As a result, they got a long look at younger pieces and roster hopefuls. And as expected, the Flyers didn't light up the scoreboard.

Like last season, they're going to be in a fight to score goals in 2022-23. Tortorella definitely knows his personnel. His focus is cutting down the goals against and outworking teams.

"We're going to have to grind," Tortorella said Tuesday morning. "Goal scoring you talk about, it's not a team filled with those type of players. We're going to have to play well away from the puck and we're going to have to grind with a forecheck and go about our business that way."

• If Felix Sandstrom isn't healthy, Ersson very well could be the Flyers' backup goalie on opening night.

The 22-year-old will have earned it. The Flyers wanted to give their goalie prospects a real stab at the No. 2 job. During rookie camp and the preseason, Ersson proved he's not only healthy, but that he can also be relied upon.

"I think I had some good games, I showed what I can do," Ersson said. "Try not to overthink it. I just go out there, try to stop pucks and then see what happens."

The Swedish prospect denied Josh Bailey twice in the final minute and change of the first period to keep the game scoreless.

He finished the preseason with 54 saves on 57 shots through parts of four outings. He has given the Flyers a good decision, especially in the wake of the Sandstrom injury. The fellow Swede is dealing with a lower-body issue. He rehab skated Tuesday morning.

Troy Grosenick relieved Ersson midway through the game. The 33-year-old gave up four goals on 18 shots. Two of them were with the Flyers shorthanded.

He stopped 60 of 70 shots in parts of four games. 

New York's No. 1 netminder Ilya Sorokin stopped 30 of the Flyers' 33 shots.

• On a power play late during the second period of a 1-1 game, Cam York found himself in a tough spot and was exposed by Casey Cizikas.

The 21-year-old defenseman looked indecisive on a puck bouncing toward the Flyers' blue line. Cizikas, an experienced 31-year-old center, put the puck past York and then outmuscled him for it before backhanding a shot past Grosenick.

"He was on his toes. When a defenseman gets on his toes, it's really hard," Tortorella said. "Cizikas is a pretty good player. You can't get beat 1-on-1, we all know that. I think he's trying, but he ends up on his toes and that's a tough play for a defenseman to recover from when they get there."

The head coach is OK with mistakes, but he wants them to be aggressive mistakes.

"At the end of the day, it's a play I've got to make," York said. "I know I've got to be better.

"It's a play you've got to have. It's a bouncing puck. Guy makes a nice diving play. That's that."

Tortorella and his staff have been pushing York throughout camp. They're going to be hard on the top prospect and he knows it.

"You can't have soft skin," York said Tuesday morning. "You've got to accept what he's saying. In the moment, you might be frustrated and annoyed, but it's for the better.

"Just continuing to build a relationship with him and the staff is going to be important."

How has York responded?

"OK. OK. There's more there," Tortorella said Tuesday morning. "And we expect that. We don't expect to hit a home run with him right now. He's on our radar as far as how we have to handle.

"To me, it's mental. It's wanting to make a difference and be more consistent doing that. It's a tough hurdle to climb, to go over. Because some kids, you can be OK. Or you can be really good, that's when you make a difference, being really good is making a difference. Those are the things we have to go through the process with him. We didn't expect this to happen overnight."

York lost his power play time in the third period. He'll be fine. The misplay on Cizikas is a good learning moment. The Flyers need his strengths in their lineup.

• Ryan Fitzgerald, who had been rehabbing a lower-body injury, was cleared and assigned to AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley.

The Flyers' roster is at 44, including injured players. More cuts will come Wednesday. The team is scheduled to be off the ice and has eight days to prepare for its regular-season opener.

The roster must be trimmed to a max of 23 players and submitted by 5 p.m. ET on Oct. 10. The Flyers kick off the regular season Oct. 13 against the Devils at the Wells Fargo Center (7 p.m. ET/ESPN+, Hulu).

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